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  • A Chinese Nationalist League in Canada Medal c.1930
  • A Chinese Nationalist League in Canada Medal c.1930
  • A Chinese Nationalist League in Canada Medal c.1930

Item: W3783

A Chinese Nationalist League in Canada Medal c.1930

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A Chinese Nationalist League in Canada Medal c.1930

14K Gold with red, yellow, blue, white and black enamels, weighing 14.6 grams, hallmarked, marked "14K" and number "15" impressed on the reverse of the hanger, illustrating the crossed flags of the Republic of China, the War Lords Era flag (1912-1928) at the left and the Kuomintang Era flag (1928-1949) at the right, the flags framing the twelve-pointed Chinese sun insignia, the bust of Sun Yat-sen below framed by a ribbon banner inscribed in Chinese "Provisional President Sun Yat-sen, Founded the Republic of China", surrounded by a open-ended wreath of laurel leaves, reverse illustrating the Chinese Nationalist Building in Vancouver, British Columbia, with "CHINESE NATIONALIST LEAGUE" marked above the first floor of the building, inscribed in Chinese "Canadian Main Branch, Chinese Nationalist Party" with the building's address below, 27.7 mm x 41.3 mm, suspended from a 11.7 mm x 29.2 mm hanger with pinback, the inscription on the pinback being a Chinese idiom (ready to stand up for justice; be public-spirited and kindhearted; be zealous for public interests; be zealous for the common weal), intact enamels, light contact, near extremely fine. Footnote: The Chinese Nationalist League or Kuomintang (KMT) built this building in 1920 as their western Canadian headquarters. After 1927, the KMT governed China, and the league's power and influence in the overseas community increased. Major activities included sponsoring campaigns to raise money for relief in China and fostering educational endeavours in Vancouver (the Chinese Public School was once one of the building's tenants). The League continued to be important after the Communists took power in 1948, although over time it also became a symbol of divisions of interest and allegiance between the older generation, who remained loyal to the KMT, and by extension, Taiwan, and the younger generations, both Canadian-born and immigrants, who took less interest in Chinese politics. The history of the League reflects the evolution of the community and its definition of what is important in relationship to being Chinese. The construction of the building in 1920 coincides with an upsurge in the population of Vancouver's Chinatown and its establishment as the leading Chinese community in western Canada. The work of architect W.E. Sproat, the building is an example of the blending of eastern and western styles, typical of the time period in Chinatown. It is considered Sproat's landmark building, as he mainly designed houses. Following a common pattern in Chinatown, for most of the building’s history, the ground floor was occupied by retail stores, with residential and meeting rooms upstairs. The location at the eastern gateway to Chinatown is important. It likely had symbolic value to the Nationalist League and it now serves as a marker of the eastern edge of historic Chinatown. These roles are reinforced by the League with the use of flags to mark the top of the building, large scale signage on the building announcing its role at the League's headquarters, and the building's architecture, especially the distinctive fourth floor windows. This fine collection of gold Chinese badges and awards were acquired from a single family on the West coast of Canada. (C:17)
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